just over from London
So runs the world away, south of the Potomac
paints it once for all, no doubt, in the opening chapters of The Virginians
To discover any ambitious literary effort in this period, we must turn northward again.
In the middle colonies, and especially in Philadelphia
, which had now outgrown Boston
in population, there was a quickened interest in education and science.
But the New Englanders were still the chief makers of books.
Three great names will sufficiently represent the age: Cotton Mather
, a prodigy of learning whose eyes turn back fondly to the provincial past; Jonathan Edwards
, perhaps the most consummate intellect of the eighteenth century; and Benjamin Franklin
, certainly the most perfect exponent of its many-sided life.
When Cotton Mather
was graduated from Harvard in 1678, in his sixteenth year, he was publicly complimented by President Oakes
, in fulsome Latin, as the grandson of Richard Mather
and John Cotton.
This atmosphere of flattery, this consciousness of continuing in his own person the famous local dynasty, surrounded and sustained him to the end. He had a less commanding personality than his father Increase
His nervous sensibility